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32       MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

the first cycle, and of Mongol drama and music in that of the
second cycle. The clearest effect of this ethnological mixture
is perhaps to be found in the linguistic and physical traits of
the modern northern Chinese, \vith altered tones and hardened
consonants in the language, and a taller stature and a gay
rustic humour in the people. It was this amalgamation of
foreign blood that accounted for, to a large extent, the race's
long survival.

IV. CULTURAL STABILITY

Yet this does not explain all. The question remains how it
was possible for the nation to survive these periodic political
disasters and not be submerged by them, as old Rome was
submerged under the Lombards. Wherein does that racial
stamina and capacity for absorbing foreign blood consist?
Only by going deeper into these problems can one gain a real
understanding of the situation as it stands to-day.

The so-called racial stamina and racial vitality, which in
spite of the retrograde character of the Chinese bourgeois
class enabled the Chinese people to survive political disasters
and regenerate itself through foreign blood, is partly con-
stitutional and partly cultural. Among the cultural forces
making for racial stability must be counted first of all the
Chinese family system, which was so well-defined and organized
as to make it impossible for a man to forget where his lineage
belonged. This form of social immortality, which the Chinese
prize above all earthly possessions, has something of the charac-
ter of a religion, which is enhanced by the ritual of ancestor
worship, and the consciousness of it has penetrated deep into
the Chinese soul.

Such a well-organized and religiously conceived family
system was of tremendous force when the Chinese race was
thrown into contact with a foreign people with a less well-
defined family consciousness. Barbaric tribes or children of
mixed parentage were all too anxious to join the family and
claim part of the family immortality, indulging in the luxurious
feeling that when one dies, one does not die, but one's self Uves